“We only shop thrift” has gotten many responses when I say that to people over the years. I’ve heard everything from “why” to “that’s gross,” but it won’t change my opinion.
Why? Because the savings are just THAT good!
I’ve been shopping second hand since I was in high school. Not by choice, though. By necessity.
My parents had just gotten divorced and my life dramatically changed. I had been used to the finer things in life: American Eagle, Hollister, Tiffany’s, Coach, boutiques, custom-made dresses for formals. All of it ended abruptly, and we were forced to shop at Salvation Army.
I was so bitter and glum. I had been so spoiled that the thought of wearing someone else’s clothes just seemed too disgusting to fathom. That is until I came across the very Aeropostale shirt that I had bought the month before… but instead of $25, this one was $2. I couldn’t believe it!
From then on, my mom and I made it a game to see who could find the most valuable article of clothing for the least amount of money. We found authentic football jerseys, brand new cashmere sweaters, never worn designer shoes, and hundreds of name-brand shirts and pants.
I’ve come a long way since that bitter girl in high school, but I’ll never forget the moment when I realized that it didn’t matter if I got my shirt from the store or from a thrift shop. Only I would know the difference, anyway!
Now, my first and often only spot to shop for clothes is at a thrift shop.
Not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the great deals. Often times people look down on me for sharing that I shop second hand. And that’s ok with me! I don’t take it personally at all!
But here are some of the things I hear most frequently when I tell people that “we only shop thrift”:
1. But someone already wore that!
Yup. But thankfully, thrift stores and even Salvation Army and Goodwill have fairly strict policies about the condition of the clothes that they’ll accept. No crazy wear and tear, no holes, no stains, nothing that isn’t a condition that you would wear.
2. Isn’t it dirty?
Nope. I always wash my clothes when I buy new ones anyway. I’m not going to wear something that I just bought without washing it first. Even if you go shopping at Kohls, chances are good that someone already wore those pants you brought home. Do you really want to wear that before washing it? Probably not.
3. Why wouldn’t you just go to the store?
My sons have put holes in 2 pairs of pants EACH this month. I’d be really unhappy if I had just spent $20 on 4 pairs of jeans that all needed to get thrown out. Thankfully, I spent $1 on each of them. I can stretch a $50 a month clothes budget like CRAZY at thrift stores. And I don’t need to go crazy looking for coupons or standing in lines for doorbuster sales.
4. You can’t find everything you want there.
This one is true. I love finding super cute clothes, but sometimes I’ll find a super cute dress that’s either a size 18 or a 00… bummer, but I’ll survive. I don’t mind terribly having to pass over something super cute because it’s the wrong size. Again, this is a problem that could have easily happened at a department store.
5. The prices can’t be THAT good.
I beg to differ! Just the other week I went to get my husband and big boys some jeans. My husband works in a steel plant and needs to have sturdy work pants, and the boys are… well, boys. They’re messy, and destructive. Heavy duty jeans are put to the test with them. We left with 8 pairs of work pants for my husband, 8 pairs of jeans with the boys, a football jersey for my 5 year old, and a bunch of other team sweatshirts and shirts.
The total was a whopping $70.26. That would have been roughly the same price of 2 or 3 pairs of jeans for my husband. So Yes. The price IS that good!
6. I’d NEVER shop there!
That’s cool! I totally respect that! Everyone is different and that’s the beauty of life. I’m just here to let you know that for my family, this is easily in our top 5 ways that we save money.
7. Oh, so you’re poor?
Nope. But I have no problem spending LIKE I’m poor. I don’t like spending money. It hits me right in the gut. So the less that I spend, the less I feel like I’m going to be sick. Being thrifty doesn’t mean that I’m poor.
8. Don’t you want new clothes?
Of course! But “new” is so relative: second hand clothes ARE new… to me! For $1 a shirt, I’m ok with the clothes just being “new” to me.
9. Why would you want your kids to wear that?
Why wouldn’t I?! My kids have ruined so many shirts from staining them. If I had spent any more than $1 on their clothes I’d be really sad that they got ruined!
10. That’s just gross.
I appreciate your opinion. I respectfully disagree. Would you be pleased if I said that it was gross that you shopped at department stores? Or that it was gross that you spent so much money on unnecessary things when there are plenty of perfectly good clothes waiting to be recycled? Just think of it this way.
I’ve pretty much heard every reaction from delight to disgust when I tell people that we only shop thrift. It works so well for us! It’s the only way that I can afford to keep my family clothed while still staying under budget. It’s not for everyone, but it works perfectly for us!